Useless Facts to Impress Your Friends, Part 1: Animals

Tired of not being the hit of the party? Here are a few useless animal facts to impress your friends with:*

A rat can go without water longer than a camel can.

Cats have no ability to taste sweet things.

A horse focuses its eye by changing the angle of its head not by changing the shape of the lens of the eye, as humans do.

A newborn polar bear cub weighs only twice as much as a newborn human—about 15 pounds. Yet when fully grown, polar bears reach weights up to 1,600 pounds.

Garter snakes, though reptiles, do not lay eggs. They bear live young, just as mammals do.

One million stray dogs and 500,000 stray cats live in New York City metropolitan area. There are about 100 million dogs and cats in the United States. Americans spend more than 5.5 billion on their pets each year. Every hour, 12,500 puppies are born in the US.

A mole can dig a tunnel 300 feet long in one night.

The average porcupine has more than 30,000 quills. Porcupines are excellent swimmers because their quills are hollow and serve as pontoons to keep them afloat.

The hippopotamus is, next to the elephant, the heaviest of all land mammals, larger even than the rhinoceros. It may weigh as much as 8,000 pounds. It can open its mouth wide enough to accommodate a 4-foot-tall child.

The crocodile is surprisingly fast on land. If pursued by a crocodile, a person should run in a zig-zag motion, for the crocodile has little or no ability to make sudden changes of direction.

The frigate bird can fly at a speed of 260 miles per hour. The snail moves at a rate of 0.000362005 miles per hour.

A squirrel has no color vision; it sees only in black and white. Every part of its field of vision, however, is in perfect focus, not just straight ahead, as with man.

Weimaraner dogs were first bred in Germany for hunting deer in a special manner; the dogs were trained to pursue stags low and from behind, and to leap at their victims’ genitals and rip off these most vulnerable organs in a single bite. Today, if given a chance, many members of this breed will instinctively perform the same feat.

A kangaroo cannot jump if its tail is lifted off the ground. It needs its tail for pushing off.

A newborn Chinese water deer is so small it can almost be held in the palm of the hand.

Every year more people are killed in Africa by crocodiles than by lions.

The venom of the king cobra is so deadly that one gram of it can kill 150 people. Just to handle the substance can put one in coma.

A whale’s heart beats only nine times a minute.

A cat uses its whiskers to determine if a space is too small to squeeze through. The whiskers act as feelers or antennae, helping the animal to judge the precise width of any narrow passage.

Of all known forms of animal life ever to inhabit the Earth, only about 10 percent still exist today.

The lesser mole rat not only digs an entire subterranean house for itself, complete with storerooms, halls, bedrooms, and a “wedding chamber” where all mating takes place, but actually constructs a separate bathroom which, when filled, is sealed off from the rest of the house.

There are buffalo in Poland. They live mainly in the area of the Bialowieza Forest and are known as zubra. The well-known Polish vodka Zubrowka, which means “buffalo brand,: takes its name from these animals.

A completely blind chameleon will still take on the colors of its environment.

The bat is the only mammal that can fly.

More than 99.9 percent of all animal species that have ever lived on Earth were extinct before the coming of man.

From 1890 to 1900, 20 tons of ivory were shipped every year from Siberia to London. All of this ivory was taken from the remains of woolly mammoths, which have been extinct since the Ice Age.

Most varieties of snake can go an entire year without eating a single morsel of food.

A rat can fall from a five-story building without injury. Two rats can become the progenitors of 15,000 rats in less than a year.

No one has ever been able to domesticate the African Elephant. Only the Indian elephant can be trained by man.

At birth, baby kangaroos are only about an inch long—no bigger than a large waterbug or a queen bee.

The polar bear is one of the only large land mammals that has absolutely no fear of man. It will stalk people at every chance and has been known to charge large groups of hunters, sometimes into heavy gunfire, not slowing down even after its vital organs have been hit repeatedly.

The smell of a skunk can be detected by a human a mile away.

*Useless facts from

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